Hancock (2008)
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Review Date: November 20, 2008
Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Vincent Ngo, Vince Gilligan
Producers: Michael Mann, Akiva Goldsman, James Lassiter
Will Smith as Hancock
Charlize Theron as Mary
Jason Bateman as Ray
A drunk, uncouth superhero living in Los Angeles is great at saving people’s lives, but not-so-great about giving a shit about anything else. The man likes to drink, sleep and then fly around and save people every now and again. That is until he saves the life of a PR man who wants to help him create a better image for himself. The next thing you know, the superhero checks himself into jail, and the PR man’s wife…stares at the superhero a lot. Is there something else going on? Maybe, but even then…it turns out that it’s not so interesting. --Insert cock joke here--
What an odd movie! I think it’s been years since I’ve seen a film marketed so much in one way, only to watch the movie and have it turn out to be a very different product, in the end. The HANCOCK that was sold to us in posters, trailers, clips and shit, was the character of Hancock whom we meet during this film’s first half hour or so. He’s drunk, he’s surly, he’s an asshole and yes…he’s a superhero! Fun premise, right? I thought so. Unfortunately for us, the film slowly starts to introduce a deeper sense of itself at that point, with the character played by Charlize Theron (looking hot, but also not looking quite like herself) throwing odd glances the way of our man Hancock, and director Peter Berg attempting to get as close to someone’s face with the camera, without actually penetrating their skin (i.e. way too many close-ups, dude). By the one hour mark, the film is a completely different movie, a major plot twist is thrown into the mix and the next thing you know, the humor and drunkenness from its first act have disappeared in lieu of some weird showdown featuring Hancock as an “actual superhero” in X-Men jammies.

Theron’s character gains a greater role in the third act as well, although none of it is particularly interesting, since we barely know her by that point, and would rather see Hancock “doing his thang”. I think this film could have worked if they had played the “humor card” all the way through, or heck, give me a dramatic Hancock from minute one, but to mix it up like this, it generally takes a deft hand behind the camera, and Berg just doesn’t pass muster here (although the screenwriters also have to take some of the blame, of course). By the end of the picture, there are darkened skies, gun shots and serious injuries, and boom… you’re in a “serious movie” all of a sudden. What happened to the “fun” Hancock from the film’s first half hour or the sarcastic dude from the trailers? I guess the studio figured that with Will Smith at the helm, it would sell out either way, so they decided to stick with this jumbled concoction of a superhero movie. That said, I can’t say that this is a completely bad movie because I did quite enjoy Smith’s character of Hancock, especially when he would just grab something/someone matter of factly and toss them through a fuckin’ wall or into outer space. But other than him, the always humorous Jason Bateman and some decent special effects clicked, although not much about the story really engaged or kept my interest otherwise…especially when things got downright kooky during its final half hour.

And who creates a superhero movie and doesn’t come up with a friggin’ bad guy!?!? I mean, c’mon!! That’s like “Superhero Writing School 101”, folks. All we get here is some no-name bank-robber who turns up at the end of the film in a ridiculous circumstance. Sigh. I’m disappointed to be writing this mediocre review because I really thought they had something unique with this premise, but it just goes to show that a good premise alone does not a good movie make. There needs to be an even better follow-up to that premise and of course, an effective execution. HANCOCK only gets halfway there, hence half the points from me.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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